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OC Register: Angels’ bullpen stifles Yankees after Shohei Ohtani’s early homer

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NEW YORK — The Angels continued a positive pattern while reversing a negative one on Tuesday night.

The Angels took an early lead, as they have done often, but this time the bullpen did its job efficiently, locking up a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees with a relative lack of drama.

Shohei Ohtani’s first-inning two-run homer put the Angels on the board, marking the 13th time in 17 games that the Angels have scored first.

But they still came into the game with a .500 record because the bullpen had failed to hold several of those leads.

Starter José Suarez put a little extra pressure on the Angels’ bullpen by lasting just 3-1/3 innings, but relievers Andrew Wantz, Jimmy Herget, Jaime Barría and José Quijada got the job done over the final 17 outs.

The only hit they allowed was Oswald Peraza’s infield single against Barria in the eighth.

Herget, who was responsible for two of the Angels’ most frustrating blown leads earlier this season, retired all six batters he faced.

Quijada recorded his team-leading third save, finishing off the Angels’ second straight victory after they lost the first three on this trip.

Offensively, the top of the lineup performed just as expected.

Taylor Ward led off the game with a double, the first of his two hits, and then Ohtani drilled a two-run homer into the Yankees’ bullpen. It was his fourth career homer at Yankee Stadium.

They increased the lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning. Mike Trout doubled – his second hit of the game – and scored on an Anthony Rendon single. Hunter Renfroe drove in Rendon with a double.

A comfortable lead was just what the Angels needed to give some cushion to Suarez, who they hoped could get deep into the game following the bullpen’s seven innings of work on Monday in Boston.

Suarez, however, was not sharp for the third time in three starts.

Immediately after the Angels gave him a four-run lead in the fourth inning, he issued his fifth walk of the game. A few batters later he walked his sixth batter.

Manager Phil Nevin then walked to the mound and took the ball from Suarez.

Two of the runners that Suarez left came around to score. In three starts, he now has a 9.26 ERA, with a WHIP of 2.40.

The Angels have expressed confidence in Suarez, who had a 3.86 ERA over 207-1/3 innings in 2021-22, but his performances early this season have not been encouraging.

More to come on this story.

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